[Met Performance] CID:17890
Mefistofele {7} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/28/1896.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 28, 1896


MEFISTOFELE {7}
Boito-Boito

Mefistofele.............Pol Plançon
Faust...................Giuseppe Cremonini
Margherita..............Emma Calvé
Elena...................Emma Calvé
Wagner..................Igenio Corsi
Marta...................Eugenia Mantelli
Pantalis................Eugenia Mantelli
Nerèo...................Igenio Corsi

Conductor...............Luigi Mancinelli

Director................William Parry

Unsigned review

The performance of Boito's "Mefistofele" at the Metropolitan Opera House last evening was admirable. The dual role of Margherita and Elena of Mme. Calvé was a triumph for the actress as well as the vocalist, who broadly and effectively contrasted the Gretchen of the earlier scene with the classic Helen of Troy in the later act. The Mefistofele of H. Plançon was well conceived and consistently worked out, his finely dramatic delivery of the prologue being as stirring an example of vocal declamation as has been heard upon the Metropolitan stage. Signor Cremonini's Faust was lacking in the fine gradations of phrasing that the arduous role not only permits but demands; nevertheless, he sang the less exacting portions of his music with feeling and artistic finish and, at times, notably in the final scene, he acted with unexpected effectiveness.

The Marta of Mme. Mantelli was satisfactory; her Pantails in the classical scene was delightfully done. The choruses were fairly well sung. The shortcomings were in the lack of delicate effects in the celestial music of the prologue, which here and there recalled congregational singers rather than heavenly choirs and an insufficiency of broad dramatic coloring in the weird music of the Walpurgis night.

The orchestra and Signor Mancinelli were at their best; on no occasion this season have the orchestral tone, the spirit of the players, the harmony of attack reached any such height of excellence as was attained last night, resulting almost in cheers for instrumentalists and conductor after the grand orchestral climax of the prelude.

Mme. Calve's Margherita was seen and heard in New York last season. It is not necessary to again detail all its excellencies. The musician again last night recognized its vocal finish, its almost perfect phrasing. The close student of Goethe saw not the conventional stage Margherita, made familiar by Gounod's delightful but purely imaginative heroine, but the genuine Gretchen of the poet-the one whom Boito, not Gounod, set to music, and which Mme. Calvé faithfully reproduces. Her Margherita is as distinct an operatic creation as her Carmen-the one as genuine as the other; both lifelike, real. dramatic as well as vocal embodiments of the character. Her Helen of Troy, in turn, is thoroughly classical, the Helen of the poet, not the theatric stage. She made a deep impression upon the audience, and after the familiar death scene, which was given new interest by some wonderfully effective touches, she was called before the curtain at least half a dozen times.

Taken all in all, the revival of Boito's opera was a delightful event, reflecting credit on artists and management alike. More than a word of praise is due to the admirable stage management.



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